More questions than answers on SIU report

Community News & Features Oct 1, 2004 at 4:10 pm

By Mel C. Catre

TORONTO–The final report of SIU (Special Investigations Unit) on the shooting of 17-year old Jeffrey Reodica finally came, Sept. 27. Toronto Star screams with headline,”Family rejects SIU report.”

The Community Alliance for Social Justice is stunned with SIU’s decision to conclude that the “ shooting was “legally justified” because the youth was armed with a knife and he resisted arrest. The fact is, there are more questions than answers based on their report.

Let’s talk about the knife.

The report states, “at 4:26 p.m. the witness officer reported over the radio that someone had been shot and requested immediate assistance. He then approached the youth, turned him over and REMOVED A KNIFE FROM HIS HAND.”

The report continued, “SIU forensic identification technicians retrieved several items in the area…recovered from the scene were the fist-sized piece of rock, two spent .40 caliber cartridges cases, a knife with a 9cm blade.”

QUESTION, how many knives are we talking about. One was REMOVED FROM HIS HAND by the Officer and the other RECOVERED from the scene by the SIU forensic technicians? Is there inconsistency in this statement? Or was there really a knife?

Following up the sequence of events we presume that the officer removed from the hand of Jeffrey the knife and put it himself beside Jeffrey because somewhere in the report it states, “the SIU technicians found a knife near where the youth lay after he was shot.” Strange, why would an officer leave a very important evidence laying on the ground, waiting to be found by SIU?

SIU concludes there was “incontrovertible evidence that the youth had a knife. The knife was found near where the youth lay after he was shot and one witness positively identified the knife belonging to the youth.” Believe it or not, SIU reported that “the youth was wearing a sporting gloves and a neoprene ski mask” That would probably explain why there is no report if fingerprints were found on the knife.

Question, why would Jeffrey wear a glove and ski mask in May? Question, this one witness that “ identified that the knife belonged to the shot teen” should be cross-examined by the Reodica’s lawyer. How was the statement extracted, did he know what he was signing? Did he see the same knife that night by Jeffrey”? Strange, because out of the 29 witnesses interviewed near the scene, there is no report that said, Jeffrey had a knife at that time.

Another question, during the struggle the report said, “the subject officer BELIEVED he was struck with a knife on his leg.” Question, was he wounded? Is belief rather that actual incident enough to justify his actions?

Did Officers identify themselves as Police?

The report says, three witnesses said the officers did identify themselves, four witnesses said the officers did NOT identify themselves. Conclusion, the officers IDENTIFIED THEMSELVES. Wait a minute how come 3 is more than 4.? Am I missing something here?

As it stands, this report will go to the Attorney General for decision. Normally, the Attorney General will affirm the decision and that would be the end of it. The only alternative by the family and the community is to file an Appeal to the Attorney General to review the SIU report, raise questions, point out inconsistencies and viable grounds in law and in fact.